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New format adds zest to CED Venture event this month

Monday, September 9th, 2013
Mike Elliot of Noro-Moseley Partners

Mike Elliot of Noro-Moseley Partners

RESEARCH TRIANGLE, NC – The CED’s annual Tech Venture Conference has acquired new energy with a format that speeds about 50 young startup companies through lightening demo rounds, says Noro-Moseley’s Mike Elliott, a managing partner in the Atlanta venture firm.

“You spin through a number of presentations and never have a chance to get bored,” he says of the three-minute rounds. “They leave you wanting just a bit more.” For a startup, that’s a good way to initiate contact with an investor: leave them wanting more.

Set for September 17-18 at the Raleigh Convention Center, the annual event draws some of its new energy from the vibrant and growing early startup hubs in the Triangle’s three cities.

Bustling startup hubs in the RTP

“Today, especially in downtown Durham, but also all over Raleigh and Chapel Hill we’re seeing tremendous activity from early-stage startups,” says Elliott. That fact has shaped this year’s focus, as well, he adds.

“What both the startups and investors need is to take companies to the next level and we tried to theme the conference in that direction this year,” says Elliott. “You’re up and running, how do you kick it into growth,” he adds.

To bolster that theme, the event features “A number of CEOs who began life at very early stage companies and were able to find the right switches to hit and push them into high growth mode.”

Those include Mike Cote, chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based SecureWorks, which was acquired by Dell in 2011; David Morken, co-founder and CEO of Triangle-based Bandwidth; and Mark Norman, president of Zipcar.

Elliot, however, points out that the entrepreneurs and investors will also hear from top corporate development people from Red Hat, Google and other firms, to “Get a clear picture of the characteristics they’re looking for in partners or acquisitions and how you can set your company up to grow inside a company like theirs.”



In the RTP: Why Aren’t You an Entrepreneur?

Friday, January 27th, 2012

By Joe Procopio

Joe Procopio

Joe Procopio

In my last installment of this 2011 review of the RTP startup ecosystem, I went back over some of the companies I hung out with last year. Some. Just a few. Mostly the ones who did big, huge, extraordinary things. But of course that leaves out the hundreds (and yes, there are hundreds) of equally likeable and viable companies who did not do big, huge, extraordinary things last year.

I hung out with them too, just in groups and a lot of times with drinks.

And there were groups everywhere.  If 2011 was the year the RTP startup ecosystem organized, it got most of that organization done at meetups, events, users groups, conferences, and galas. If it seemed like there was something startup-related going on every single week that’s because there was, and 2012 looks to be no different, just better.

There’s been no better time to be an entrepreneur in the RTP. Here’s why:

Foot on the Accelerator

2011 started off and ended with announcements from two completely different accelerators.

American Underground

Artist's rendering of the American Underground space

LaunchBox Digital graduated its first class to come out of Durham in January 2011, with a big event at Bay 7 at American Tobacco ( (where it’s falsely rumored that I keep a secret sleeping quarters – I actually just sleep in Square 1 Bank’s conference room… don’t tell them).  Seven companies held court for eight minutes apiece in front of brave ice-conquering crowd of hundreds.

Then in November, rumor turned into reality when Capitol Broadcasting and NC IDEA announced that new accelerator Groundwork Labs would be taking applications, well, now (

Groundwork will be run by John Austin, and if that name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s also running Joystick Labs, the gaming accelerator ( They held their first successful session in the summer of 2011, and will be ramping up again in 2012.

And it should be noted that while LaunchBox closed up shop in 2011, out of the ashes rose the homegrown Triangle Startup Factory ( Also taking applications. Also now.

That means there are three “new” programs in the RTP for aspiring entrepreneurs to get their product from concept to reality with more help than should be legal. If you don’t apply to at least one of them, you have no one to blame.

Out of the Garage

Beyond the proliferation of accelerators in the area (and honestly, how often do you get to read a sentence like that), there were literally dozens of events in 2011 that highlighted, supported, or celebrated startups. And if you know me, you know I’m all about the grass roots.

In March, I wrote about Startup Madness, the second in a series of homegrown events from Scott Kelly that announce and market the launch of local tech startups (  Kelly just held another Launch Days very early this year, and has two startup events on the calendar for Spring and Summer that focus on high school and college entrepreneurs.

In June, Triangle Startup Weekend ( made a welcome return to the area with over 100 entrepreneurs spending three straight, sleepless days and nights building a company from scratch. TSW makes a repeat engagement in April this year, and will be very interesting as some of those folks ran with their companies and likely still haven’t slept.

Not to be outdone, the gamers put on their own party, Raleigh Game On ( packed 150 game developers and gaming enthusiasts into the Hive in downtown Raleigh in August. I, for one, have always felt like the gamers should and could be more visible in the RTP startup ecosystem. Between Joystick, Game On, and other recurring events like the TGI Social, 2011 was a big step in the right direction.

Even if you didn’t have a startup or even an idea in 2011, Tech Jobs Under the Big Top ( provided a real opportunity for getting in on the ground floor of a startup just by going to work for one.

And let’s just pretend I already talked about ExitEvent.

Oh, Yeah, There are VCs Too

I’ve always been amazed at how accessible the local VCs are and how few startups and wanna-be startups take advantage of that accessibility. Here are two ends of the spectrum I talked about in 2011.

Jason Caplain

Jason Caplain

Jason Caplain from Southern Capitol Ventures is involved with a lot of events, meetings, get-togethers, and so on, probably more so than any single local investor.

In January, we sat down and talked about one of the more intriguing (at least to me) things he does. Once a month (maybe every other month when he’s busy), Jason hosts breakfast for any entrepreneur who wants to get or give advice (

But maybe one-on-one isn’t your thing.

In April, I wrote about the, get this, 28th annual CED Venture Conference (, where for a small price (in terms of value), you can catch up with a keg of VCs, angels, and dozens of funded and unfunded startups. Watching and learning from the public pitches alone is worth the price of admission.

And by the way, that was on the heels of the SouthEast Venture Conference and the East Coast Game Conference, both of which are coming up again in 2012.

If anything, 2012 is going to build on this strong support structure that sprung up in 2011. So if you ever, ever thought about ditching it all and starting a company, well, my friend, this is your year. Apply, attend, meet-up, discuss, engage and party. Of course, there’s all that hard work and risk, but at least you’ll have hundreds of others slogging it out with you.

Joe Procopio heads up product engineering for automated content startup Automated Insights. He also founded and runs startup network ExitEvent, consulting marketplace Intrepid Company, and the Intrepid Media writers network ( You can read him at and follow him at


NC CED seeks nominations for its Companies to Watch awards

Monday, April 4th, 2011

CEDDURHAM, NC – CED, the NC entrepreneurial support organization,  is accepting nominations for the 2nd annual North Carolina Companies to Watch awards program.

In partnership with the Edward Lowe Foundation and entrepreneurial support organizations from around the state, North Carolina Companies to Watch honors second-stage companies that not only demonstrate high performance in the marketplace, but also exhibit innovative products and a dynamic workplace culture.

Eligible companies must be privately held, commercial enterprises that are currently in a stage of growth and past the initial start-up phase. Qualifying companies must also be headquartered in North Carolina, employ between six and 99 employees, have between $750,000 and $50 million in annual revenue, and have not previously won.

“CED is delighted to partner with educational and nonprofit organizations across the state to recognize companies that have been growing in spite of a challenging economy,” said Joan Siefert Rose, president, CED. “North Carolina Companies to Watch paints a picture of these companies that may be flying below the radar, quietly creating jobs and opportunities in their communities.” According to information compiled by the Edward Lowe Foundation, during 2006-2008, North Carolina had more than 48,000 second-stage companies employing more than one million workers.

To identify growth stage companies around the state, CED partners with the following organizations: Business Innovation and Growth Council, North Carolina Technology Association, North Carolina Rural Center, Small Business Technology Development Center, North Carolina Board of Science and Technology, Davidson County Community College, SmartMoves International, Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, Women Presidents’ Organization, North Carolina A&T, IDA and Asset-Building Collaborative of North Carolina, Durham Technical Community College. Cherry, Bekaert & Holland, and Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton, are the headline sponsors of the event.

Startup Stampede picks 11 companies for 60-day Durham event

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Durham StampedeDURHAM, NC – The Bull City Startrup Stampede has selected 11 companies from 78 applications for 60 days of free furnished space in downtown Durham April 1 thorugh May 31. The companies will also receive expert help and opportunities to network with founders of successful Durham startups.

“We were overwhelmed and thrilled by the response to the Stampede,” said Adam Klein, the Chamber’s Director of Strategic Initiatives. “The applications were wide-ranging and inspiring. It made the selection process difficult, but we are thrilled to bring these 11 startup companies and 30 employees downtown.”

The companies that were not selected for the Stampede have already been connected to the many business resources available in Durham such as Bull City Forward, NC Institute for Minority Economic Development, Durham Technical Community College Small Business Center, CED, LaunchBox Digital, Joystick Labs and the Small Business and Technical Development Center.

“We want to make sure all the companies that showed interest in the Stampede are engaged in Durham and the business opportunities here,” Klein said. “We have a wealth of resources and partners who can help these companies start and grow in Durham.”

For background on the event see our previous story: Startup Stampede, launch a company in 60 days

The Bull City Startup Stampede participants:

AcuMedSoft – revolutionizing healthcare delivery with secure cloud based web applications.

Appuware – provides a cloud-based suite of tools and services that enable mobile publishers to offer trial and subscription based pricing within various app marketplaces.

Blink Coupons - customer loyalty cards for small businesses. Blink aims to become the Google of the collegiate market and their ultimate goal is to make the collegiate experience more enjoyable for college students, professors and advertisers, alike.

Bound Custom Journals - delivers uniquely customizable journals for travel, sketching, writing, planning, anything–because only you can create the perfect journal.

Clinical Ambassador – a cultural attaché that connects science and minority communities to advanced medical discovery and reduces disparities through cultural competence, research literacy, outreach strategy, community-driven, creative marketing and patient recruitment in clinical trials.

Finger Puppet Games, Inc. - develops 3D games with cutting-edge technology that are social, tactile, and collectible; built for mobile devices and monetized through microtransactions.

Fitsistant - a service of on-call physical training coaches & scheduling assistants combined with personally tailored fitness software.

Haiti Hub - a for-profit social enterprise dedicated to providing the highest quality Haitian Creole e-language learning solutions to native English speakers invested in Haiti’s future.

LearnVC – (operated by LearnVC) simplifies raising capital by modeling investment scenarios to educate entrepreneurs and collaborate with potential investors.

Little Green Software - develops apps for smart devices including smartphones, tablets, game systems, and the web.

Rippple – an online platform that empowers communities to support entrepreneurs in building successful businesses.


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Five new startups locate at Durham’s American Underground

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010
American Underground

Artist's rendering of the American Underground space

DURHAM, NC – Two months after opening its doors as a new hub for entrepreneurs and start-ups, the Underground — located at the American Tobacco Campus – welcomes five new companies: Acorn Innovestments,  Adzerk, Jaargon Ltd., Preation and Two Toasters.

The American Underground is providing the type of space many early stage companies always wished existed in the Research Triangle Park. It has restaurants and other amenities within walking distance and an atmosphere that promotes interaction.

“We want to be in what we believe will be the hotbed for a new wave of  entrepreneurs and startups in the Triangle area,” said Rachit Shukla of the eight-person Two Toasters.

Aaron Houghton of Preation echoed the point, “There are 50 software start-ups in walking distance of the American Underground.  We want to be part of the Durham start-up scene.”

After ramping up in what might be record time, the Underground is now stocked with a slate of diverse and dynamic organizations, many with backing  from seasoned entrepreneurs like Houghton (co-founder of iContact).

“Being close to other start-ups and organizations supporting start-ups is incredibly valuable,” said Adzerk’s James Avery. “It gives us a chance to learn from each other and someone to enjoy a late night beer with before going back to work.”

The new team joins the Underground’s original line-up of Launchbox Digital, Joystick Labs and CED (Council for Entrepreneurial Development).

“Being close to Duke University and the airport makes the Underground great  for connections and travel,” said Keval Mehta of Jaargon Ltd, the company behind, among other ventures, GoToAid.  “The setup of the conference rooms and class rooms, and having other entrepreneurs to confer and network with is the best.”

The fast start took even the Underground’s founders by surprise.  “Yes,  Durham is a hive of entrepreneurs, and, yes, those entrepreneurs need a  stimulating, central place to work and make connections,” said Michael Goodmon, vice president of real estate for Capitol Broadcasting Company,which owns American Tobacco.  “We suspected there’d be interest, but it’s been exciting to see it come to life so fast.  And there’s still more ahead.”

But being a small start-up in Durham can have its drawbacks.  At Acorn Innovestments, one of the key players cottons to Duke while the other Walter Devins of Devins Law Firm — lines up with UNC-Chapel Hill.

Acorn’s Mike Noël said , “During certain local collegiate sporting events, the atmosphere within the partnership is at times a bit tense.”

The Underground’s new neighbors are chasing the following missions, in their own words:

Acorn Innovestments, Mike Noël : “Acorn Innovestments focuses it’s investments on start-ups and early stage companies with special attention to advanced materials, manufacturing, and environmental technology, in addition to other investments in which Acorn can contribute strong strategic value-add.  In 2011, we will grow our networks in the Triangle and state-wide start-up community, while being an integral part of its growth and promotion.”

Adzerk, James Avery: “Adzerk is building a next generation ad server, our goal is to make the bannerads and other advertisements you see on the web more effective, faster, and less intrusive.  In 2011, we are going to be launching our product to the public (we are currently in privatebeta). We will also be hiring our first full-time employees.”

Jaargon Ltd, Keval Mehta: “Jaargon Ltd is becoming a leader in delivering health care information  conveniently and on demand through mobile devices.  Our first project,  GotoAID, is the premiere first aid resource on the internet and on  mobile devices.  Our focus is on ‘Mobilizing Healthcare’ by taking the medical “jargon” out of health care and bringing it to a level a non-health care professional can understand.  We believe that by providing these tools we can empower people to take responsibility for their own health.”

Preation, Aaron Houghton:
“Preation helps small businesses acquire new customers from the search engines and social networks.  In 2011, we are launching version 2.0 of our Eden Platform product and will be hiring more software developers and user interface designers.”

Two Toasters, Rachit Shukla: “Two Toasters is a mobile agency; we focus on strategy, design and development of iPhone and Android applications. We are the mobile team behind a lot of successful venture-backed startups.  In 2011, we will hire exceptional individuals who understand that mobile is the future of computing, achieve national recognition as mobile experts and have fun  growing the business we started from scratch.”

NC CED’s Biotech conference set for Feb. 21-22

Friday, December 10th, 2010

CEDResearch Triangle Park, NC – The 20th annual Biotech/Life Science Conference, put on by the NC CED is set for February 21_22, 2011, at the Raleigh Convention Center. CED is presenting the conference in partnership with the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and the North Carolina Biosciences Organization (NCBIO).

“The southeast, specifically North Carolina is a growing hotbed for life sciences,” said CED President Joan Siefert Rose. “The North Carolina biotechnology industry generates $45.8 billion in economic activity annually and over 520 bioscience companies are headquartered or have operations here.

“With more than 5,000 university scientists and technicians in biotechnology-related research located throughout the state – we’re excited to provide the industry with an authentic forum that highlights innovation and draws attendees, presenters and investors from across the country.”

The CED Biotech/Life Science Conference has grown exponentially since its inception in 1991. Over the last 5 years, attendance has risen by 56 percent with record attendance in 2010 as the conference brought together over 1,200 industry executives, entrepreneurs, research leaders and policy makers. In addition, the 2010 event drew 100 investors, including 43 from outside North Carolina.

“North Carolina is fortunate to have a world-renowned life sciences industry composed of both entrepreneurial startups and established players in biotech, medical device and other sectors.  CED’s conference provides a unique opportunity for everyone with an interest in that community to come together for unparalleled networking and information,” said Richard Kent, MD, Intersouth Partners and conference co-chair.

The 2011 Biotech/Life Science Conference features world-class speakers and panel discussions on timely topics such as financing, personalized medicine and regulatory and reimbursement.

Confirmed speakers include: Deirdre P. Connelly, President, North America Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline; Robert Cascella, President and CEO, Hologic; David P. King, Chairman and CEO, LabCorp; David Mott, General Partner, NEA (former CEO of MedImmune) and Larry Stern, Chairman and CEO, Talecris Biotherapeutics.

In addition to presentations, panel discussions and networking events, the 2011 Biotech/Life Science Conference features:

One-on-One Partnering Meetings that connect biotech organizations with large pharmaceutical companies and investors. For pharmaceutical, biotech companies and investors only.

Exit Strategies Boot Camp for executives at companies that are “exit-ready” (IPO or M&A). The workshop is led by CEOs with exit experience and senior healthcare bankers who have participated in liquidity events. Invitation only event.

To register for the CED Biotech/Life Science Conference:

CED launches “Start Something” Twitter pitch contest

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

CEDDURHAM, NC – The North Carolina CED (formerly the Council for Entrepreneurial Development) has launched a “Start Something” Twitter pitch contest for entrepreneurs. The overall winner will receive an Entrepreneur Gift Pack that includes a 2010 Lenovo ThinkPad Edge notebook computer and more.

CED invites entrepreneurs to share the “something” they are starting with an elevator pitch contest via Twitter. The opportunity gives both new and established business owners a platform to showcase the way their respective organizations are making a difference in the community and changing the game with new ideas, perspectives and innovations.

The Twitter Pitch Contest will run through the month of September. Qualified business pitch entries must be 140 characters or less, or will be disqualified. There are two ways for entrepreneurs to submit their business pitch entry – via Twitter or posting to CED’s blog. If using Twitter, tweet your pitch in 140 characters or less and make sure to include the hashtag #CEDNC. If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can submit your pitch via CED’s blog.

Winners will be announced at CED’s housewarming event held October 28, 2010, at its new headquarters, The American Underground at the American Tobacco Campus.

Though there is no cost to enter the Twitter Pitch Contest, the housewarming event is $15 per person which includes two free drinks and light appetizers. The cost will be the same for members and non-members and will include music, guided tours of the American Tobacco Campus, and additional games and raffles to win prizes.

CED selects 25 companies to watch

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

CEDRESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC – The North Carolina CED (Council for Entrepreneurial Development) has named its 25 companies to watch, which will be recognized at a September event.

The companies named are:

  • Affinergy, Inc. – (Research Triangle Park)
  • BlueStripe Software, Inc. – (Morrisville)
  • Bronto Software – (Durham)
  • Clinipace Worldwide – (Morrisville)
  • Consolidated Asset Recovery Systems, Inc. — (Raleigh)
  • Digitalsmiths – (Research Triangle Park)
  • Entex Technologies Inc. – (Chapel Hill)
  • Inlet Technologies – (Raleigh)
  • Kyma Technologies, Inc. – (Raleigh)
  • Liquidia Technologies – (Durham)
  • PocketGear, Inc. – (Durham)
  • SciMetrika, LLC – (Durham)
  • Semprius, Inc. – (Durham)
  • ShareFile – (Raleigh)
  • ShopBot Tools – (Durham)
  • The Select Group – (Raleigh)
  • Themis Group – (Durham)
  • TheraSim, Inc. – (Durham)
  • TransEnterix, Inc. – (Morrisville)
  • Tranzyme Pharma – (Durham)
  • 3tailer – (Charlotte)
  • DataChambers, LLC – (Winston-Salem)
  • – (Charlotte)
  • Piedmont Pharmaceuticals, LLC – (Greensboro)
  • Yap – (Charlotte)

CED, LaunchBox Digital, Joystick Labs moving to new ATC digs

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010
American Underground

Artist's rendition of the American Underground

DURHAM, NC – The North Carolina CED (formerly Council for Entrepreneurial Development), the start up accelerators LaunchBox Digital, and electronic game focused Joystick Labs are moving to a new space in October called the American Underground at the American Tobacco Campus (ATC) near the Durham Bulls Baseball stadium in Durham.

The new ATC space is geared toward startup companies and organizations such as CED, which is focused on helping entrepreneurs succeed.

“Innovation drives our economy and it’s what drove our decision to create The American Underground,” said Jim Goodmon, president and CEO of American Tobacco’s owner, Capitol Broadcasting Company.  “We want to be the place where entrepreneurs thrive and ideas soar.  Where we stand today, once the site of tobacco production, is now the epicenter of innovation.”

Designed to foster creativity and collaboration, the Underground will occupy the lower levels of American Tobacco’s historic Strickland and Crowe Buildings.  Features being readied include: individual tenant suites and single offices of flexible sizes, a large classroom, multiple shared ‘conference cabanas’, a common break room and a vintage arcade.

The ATC includes numerous restaurants, a Disney-designed waterfall, historic Tobacco warehouse surroundings,  and is home to WUNC-FM’s studios, Bronto Mail and Intersouth Partners, among other tenants.

It hosts numerous special events, which have included some of the CED’s.

Other firms are expected to move into the new space as well.

The CED is moving from its current space at the Research Triangle Park Alexandria Technology Center where it has been for the last four years. It will occupy 2,400 square feet of space.

Joystick Labs, which recently launched with $500,000 in funding, will use 2,000 square feet in the new space. Joystick plans to accelerate the development of new digital games.

LaunchBox Digital plans to seed fund startups in its program with about $25,000 and provide mentoring.

Previously on TechJournal South.

Game Development Accelerator Joystick Labs funded, seeks teams

Triangle Startup Factory, LaunchBox Digital Merge

NC tech entrepreneurs expect growth or staus quo

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

CEDRESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC -Most tech entrepreneurs surveyed by the North Carolina CED (formerly the Council for Entrepreneurial Development) remain optimistic that their firms will either expand or stay about the same over the next year.

The purpose of the survey was to understand how entrepreneurial members assess their current business situation and to solicit feedback on how the organization can better respond to their needs

The member survey, conducted by CED member company Percept Research, found, among other things:

– 70 percent of responders say they work in companies with fewer than 50 employees, with most saying they work in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, information technology or business consulting.

– Despite a bad economy, 50 percent say their company either “expanded a little” or “expanded a lot” in the past 12 months, with 21 percent saying their business contracted.

– In the next 12 months, only 6 percent say they expect their company to contract, with the rest projecting that their business will stay the same or expand.

– 55 percent engage in business outside the United States and 12 percent plan expansion in overseas markets this year.

Funding and the state of the economy were listed as their top concerns:

– The majority of enterprises are self-funded, with entrepreneurs relying on their own savings, friends and family, and credit cards.

– 18 percent report angel investors and 13 percent have funding from venture capitalists.

– In open-ended comments, respondents most frequently expressed worries about managing cash flow and getting access to credit, followed by dissatisfaction with government policy and the unpredictability of world markets.

CED names Noro-Moseley Partner Mike Elliott chair

Friday, May 28th, 2010
Mike Elliott

Michael Elliott, new board chair at the CED

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – CED, formerly the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, a private, nonprofit organization that promotes entrepreneurial efforts in the Triangle region of North Carolina, has named Michael Elliott of Atlanta-based Noro-Moseley Partners as board chair.

It also named Eric Linsley of Pappas Ventures as chair-elect, Greg Anglum of Grant Thornton LLP as returning treasurer, Kent Christison of K&L Gates as returning secretary and Stephen Wiehe of SciQuest as past chair. Officer terms last one year.

Other executive committee members include: Vipin Garg of Tranzyme Pharma, Garheng Kong of Intersouth Partners, Helga Leftwich of Hutchison Law Group, Steve Nelson of Wakefield Group, Anastasia Pucci of Carlyle & Conlan, David Spitz of Channel Advisor and Ted Zoller of the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

New members on the board of directors include:

•         Kyle Breischaft, Emergency Technologies Inc.
•         Lee Buck, Blue Bright Ventures LLC
•         Joe Colopy, Bronto Software
•         John Crumpler, Hatteras Venture Partners
•         Tony Frazier, Cisco Systems
•         Jonathan Gindes, Affinergy
•         Collin G. Hill, Cherry Bekaert & Holland LLP
•         Laura Hoke, PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP
•         John Kerr IV, York Properties
•         Helga Leftwich, Hutchison Law Group
•         David Routh, US Trust/Bank of America
•         Chip Royce, Lenovo
•         Lori Spivey, Financial Directions Group, Inc
•         Wright Steenrod, Chrysalis Ventures
•         Rob Tyler, Poyner Spruill LLP